St. Thomas’ Parish was organized in Camden on October 1, 1855. For the next fifteen years, the parish worshipped in the former Universalist meeting house on Mountain Street. After 1884 it began to grow in size and prosperity.
The parish moved from its original location on Mountain Street into the present structure in 1924. The architecture of St. Thomas’ Church is English Gothic in the style of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The outside of the building is of Weymouth seam-faced granite with a slate roof. The outstanding stained-glass memorial windows add much to the beauty of the church. More on the windows can be found here.
The parish house, which follows the lines of an early English Guild Hall, was completed in 1926. When St. Thomas’ celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1930, the Lady Chapel and Tower were added. Memorial bells were installed in the tower in 1939. We dedicated our Schantz pipe organ with 37 ranks in 3 divisions in 1992.
The grounds and gardens are attractively landscaped and provide a natural setting for the church buildings. A bronze statue of St. Thomas the Apostle, made by Eleanor Mellon of New York, stands in the garden adjacent to the Lady Chapel.
Among the noteworthy adornments of St. Thomas’ Church are its woodcarvings and needlepoint kneelers. The woodcarvings are by a single artist, Lauldi Lang of the Oberammergau School. The many kneelers, however, represent the effort of scores of parishioners, each kneeler requiring hundreds of hours of work. They are lovingly dedicated to the memory of loved ones and to the glory of God. More on the Kneelers can be found here.
Although in its early history, the parish and its rectors would have described themselves as “broad church,” for a short time (1975-1995), the parish moved toward an Anglo-Catholic liturgy. Now the parish draws on both traditions, using both Rite I and Rite II in its services, and drawing traditional and contemporary sources for its worship and music, blending the best of the past and present.
A new organ installed in 1992, and the enthusiasm of the parish led to the construction of a new educational wing and the renovation of the rectory into offices in 2007 and new opportunities for worship to parishioners and the community.